Archive for October, 2014

“Common Sense” Ideas You Need to Abandon in Russia Posted by on Oct 30, 2014

I don’t like appeals to the proverbial “common sense” in explanations. What is viewed as common varies vastly among individuals, not to mention groups of people. In this post I would like to concentrate on assumptions that we may take for granted outside Russia, especially in the Anglo-American world, that may not reflect Russian reality —…

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Are Russians Educated? Da! Posted by on Oct 29, 2014

How many of you have gone to college? Finished college? You may be surprised to learn that Russia leads the world in having the highest percentage of college graduates. According to findings by the Organization for Economic and Co-Operative Development, 54 percent of Russians between the ages of 25 and 64 have at least an…

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Russian Breakfast: Not What You’d Think? Posted by on Oct 28, 2014

One of the first things I noticed upon coming to America many years ago were the differences in what people ate for breakfast. The breakfast that I was used to eating could not easily be found – at first. Breakfast cereals seemed to be omnipresent. Visiting the local grocery store was interesting because there always…

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Colloquial Praises Posted by on Oct 23, 2014

If you took Russian — or any language, for that matter — you probably eventually arrived at a point when your teacher encouraged you to use words other than хороший (good) to praise things. Hopefully, you started using замечательный, чудесный (both mean wonderful),  восхитительный (delightful), великолепный (magnificent), прекрасный (great, beautiful), отменный (select, top-notch), отличный (excellent) and…

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Could You Be a Russian Skywalker? Posted by on Oct 22, 2014

So, you think you’re brave? Do you perform stunts that others won’t even try? Are you a photographer? Are you Russian? Is your name Kirill Oreshkin? A recent trend is growing in Russia among young adults and it involves taking selfies from atop some of the world’s tallest buildings, towers, and other man-made structures…

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Time Paradoxes in Russian Posted by on Oct 16, 2014

Human perception of time is culture-specific, so it’s no wonder that simply learning the words to talk about time is not enough. You need to understand how Russian speakers see time so their words and actions can start making sense to you. Time of the day is organic… You probably learned time of the day…

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Trade Your Life for a Joke? Posted by on Oct 15, 2014

What does it feel like to be arrested for retelling a joke, or even an anecdote? For those living in Russia during Stalin’s reign, it was a reality. Gulags were home to not just societies most dangerous and, therefore, worthy criminals; professors, doctors, all sorts of educated professionals could also call it home – some…

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